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2016 Forester XT Touring
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Discussion Starter #1
Just looking to see if anyone has the same issue. I have a 2016 FXT Touring with nav and Harmon. The bass is ridiculously overbearing, in a horrible way. Also the book shows the head unit features a multi band graphic EQ, mine only has bass mid and treble setting. As this is my first subie I'm not sure if this is to be expected. Otherwise the car is great. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5 Limited CVT
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287 Posts
Just looking to see if anyone has the same issue. I have a 2016 FXT Touring with nav and Harmon. The bass is ridiculously overbearing, in a horrible way. Also the book shows the head unit features a multi band graphic EQ, mine only has bass mid and treble setting. As this is my first subie I'm not sure if this is to be expected. Otherwise the car is great. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
I have a 2016 Limited 2.5i. I have the HK system. I agree that the bass is totally overbearing. I basically set the bass to its lowest setting but even then it's still overbearing on some Sirius stations. No multi-band EQ on mine either.
 

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2016 Forester XT Touring
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
What are the secret menu settings? Keep in mind I have nav with the starlink 7 setup.
 

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2016 XT Premium
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145 Posts
This makes me glad I got the 2016 FXT Premium model. I had a feeling I would not be satisfied with any manufacturer sound system upgrade.

I bought it with expectation of putting custom speakers, a micro amp behind the head unit, and a small underseat sub. I'm gonna throw in a micro DSP behind the head unit too.

Just bought all the stuff for it....total cost a little over $500 dollars. I'm installing it myself though.
 

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2016 2.5i Premium 6 Speed
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693 Posts
based on my experience with subaru speakers and head unit I would say its the headunit causing the issues not the speakers, you can go aftermarket on head unit
as I did with my previous subaru
 

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2016 XT Premium
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145 Posts
based on my experience with subaru speakers and head unit I would say its the headunit causing the issues not the speakers, you can go aftermarket on head unit
as I did with my previous subaru
Well, I'll be able to answer that in a few weeks. I'm pretty much replacing everything except the head unit on my system. 2016 Head Unit looks too nice to replace
 

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2016 Forester 2.5 Limited CVT
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287 Posts
Have you tried any of the secret menu settings
Here's the thread. No idea whether it will work with your unit:

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f77/hidden-stereo-menus-123702/

@subatron, thanks for the link but I don't think that works for the 2016 headunit. It's completely different from the 2015 and earlier models.


This makes me glad I got the 2016 FXT Premium model. I had a feeling I would not be satisfied with any manufacturer sound system upgrade.

I bought it with expectation of putting custom speakers, a micro amp behind the head unit, and a small underseat sub. I'm gonna throw in a micro DSP behind the head unit too.



Just bought all the stuff for it....total cost a little over $500 dollars. I'm installing it myself though.
I disagree. My opinion is that if you're into costume upgrading speakers, amps, and all that jazz, you are most likely into bass, and would therefore actually enjoy the mega bass pumping from the HK upgrade.

For those of us who are not into custom upgrading all that jazz and just want a decent sound system, the upgraded HK system is skewed towards pumping out way too much bass.

Good luck with your custom install. But you should test drive a 2016 with upgraded HK system to see if you actually dislike the sound. I think you'll probably enjoy/appreciate the bass.

Besides the overbearing bass, I quite like the sound coming out of the HK upgraded system. It's indeed quite rich and resonant.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Prem
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When we picked up ours 2.5 premium (it has the Clarion setup I think), I thought was the sound was wayyyy too bassy, but it turned out that someone test drove it and turned the bass and treble all the way. Still, lowering the bass and treble to flat, there was still too much bass and the overall sound was fairly thumpy and dead.

Next, I played around with the hidden settings. Turning off the loudness helped a lot and I fiddled with some of the other hidden settings settling on "wagon" over "through" and whatever the other one was.

Overall, the sound is ok but my next move might be to swap out the front speakers. I've posted some general questions asking something like"has anyone changed out the front speakers and what was your experience" No answers yet though.

A more natural sound, maybe more mid presence, crisper highs and less thumpiness is all I want. Seems reasonable right?

Greg
 

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2014 forester XT touring CVT
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1,670 Posts
I think it's by far the best stock system I have ever had! I have the hk in the bmw and it's way better u just have to adjust it! I love the deep bass it gives
 

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2015 Forester I-Premium 6MT
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2,368 Posts
When we picked up ours 2.5 premium (it has the Clarion setup I think), I thought was the sound was wayyyy too bassy, but it turned out that someone test drove it and turned the bass and treble all the way. Still, lowering the bass and treble to flat, there was still too much bass and the overall sound was fairly thumpy and dead.

Next, I played around with the hidden settings. Turning off the loudness helped a lot and I fiddled with some of the other hidden settings settling on "wagon" over "through" and whatever the other one was.

Overall, the sound is ok but my next move might be to swap out the front speakers. I've posted some general questions asking something like"has anyone changed out the front speakers and what was your experience" No answers yet though.

A more natural sound, maybe more mid presence, crisper highs and less thumpiness is all I want. Seems reasonable right?

Greg
The front speakers are half size round cardboard speakers mounted onto oval plastic.
By far the biggest upgrade with the base or premium is to do speakers.. and the most important are the fronts. The Dash tweeters are important as well because the front speakers are so low you don't get much high frequency when its aimed at your ankle.
Rears ok to do (I did) but least important of the 3 sets.
 

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2016 FXT Touring
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48 Posts
I think it's by far the best stock system I have ever had! I have the hk in the bmw and it's way better u just have to adjust it! I love the deep bass it gives
I thought it was just the speakers that are made by HK? I guess they changed the stereo in the 16's when they changed the infotainment/Starlink unit.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Prem
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18 Posts
Are the speakers in the front doors 2 way or full range? How about the little speakers in the dash? (I have the 6 speaker setup).

Interestingly, the Kicker upgrade doesn't include in dashboard speakers. It includes 6x9 2 ways for the front and what appear to be 6x6 2 ways for the back.

I'm inclined to do the front door speakers first. I've had good ones (2 way) in other cars in the doors and even without surface mounted tweeters, the high end improved quite a bit.

Crutchfield has a few speakers that would work in the front door. I was looking at these: Rockford Fosgate Prime R169X2 6"x9" 2-way car speakers at Crutchfield.com
the price seemed right but no clue on the sound.

The back speakers sound quite bad. I envision replacing those at a later point when I can sneak the purchase past my wife.

Finally, preliminary research show that nothing fits up in the dashboard without some cutting which I'm not gonna do.

Hey, if you know clean accurate sound and you've made some upgrades to your Forester, please feel free to weigh in and tells us what you've done. If my information is wrong or there's something else we should know, any help would be greatly appreciated.

g
 

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2015 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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1,318 Posts
My '15 has nav with H/K speakers and an amp, and I'm quite happy with the way it sounds. I've never heard the base unit of either model year so I can't compare the H/K system to that. I assume the '15 H/K system is the same unit that's in the '16 models. As far as I know, only the base non-nav head unit got upgraded for the new model year.

I'm gonna have to check, but I think I recall it having an equalizer, albeit somewhat simplistic. It's been over a year since I set things, but I'm virtually certain it has more than just bass, mid, and treble. Seems like there were 7 or 8 difference frequency bands that could be set.

But I'm pretty pleased with the sound. When you go aftermarket, there could very well be problems with steering wheel controls, so the cost of harnesses and such to maintain full steering wheel control capability can be considerably more than just the cost of the head unit.
 

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2016 Forester XT Touring
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I spoke with Subaru of America today. They are aware of the problem and the matter is being escalated. I urge everyone who has the same issue to call and complain.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Prem
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I spoke with Subaru of America today. They are aware of the problem and the matter is being escalated. I urge everyone who has the same issue to call and complain.
Hmmm, curious to hear that it's a problem. Now knowing the cheesy components that Subaru puts in the 6 speaker setup (which they market as an upgrade), I'm not surprised by the quality (or lack thereof). One key item, turn the loudness off. Makes a huge difference and removes a lot of the boom. It's a hidden menu. Pressing 1 and 6 I think.
Please let us know if you hear from Subaru about the problem.
 
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